BACNOTAN, La Union – A newly-promoted policeman assigned at the La Union police provincial office was slain in an ambush at around 8:00 p.m. Wednesday while on his way home in Barangay Bitalag here but two of the seven suspects were killed when they allegedly tried to grab the gun of one of the policeman who arrested them in a hot pursuit operation right after the incident.
Chief Inspector Reynaldo Soria, the town’s police chief, identified the slain cop as SPO2 Edward Almirol, formerly assigned at the San Juan police station but was transferred at the Provincial Public Safety Office after his promotion a few weeks ago.
Initial investigation showed the policeman was on his way home onboard his car together with his wife, Senior Inspector Joy Almirol, when the suspects suddenly appeared at the direction of the car’s window at the driver’s side and shot him several times.
“He slowed down the car in a sharp curve when the gunmen shot him hitting his body on the back. His wife was unhurt,” an investigator said.
Victim was rushed to the Lorma Medical Center in San Fernando City but did not survive.
Investigators recovered at the crime scene several empty shells of caliber 45 and M16 Armalite rifle.
Right after the shooting, responding policemen conducted pursuit operation at the nearby barangay of Calautit where the suspects allegedly fled onboard a motorcycle.
Police operatives were able to arrest four of the alleged suspects identified as Benjie Julaton, chairman of Barangay Calautit, his brother Bernabe Julaton, Sherwin Uyami and Benedict
The chairman was allegedly caught in possession of a caliber 38 while police believed that the guns used in the ambush were already hidden. The three other suspects allegedly escaped.
When the suspects were about to be brought for medical examination at the Bacnotan District Hospital (BDH) onboard a patrol car, the chairman allegedly tried to grab the service firearm of PO3 Miluvis Almoite.
“At that moment, the two grappled for the gun until it went off hitting the barangay captain on his body. His brother (Bernabe), who was infront them, also tried to grab the firearm prompting PO3 Phillip Fontanilla to shoot him,” the investigator said.
The brothers were brought to the BDH but were declared dead upon arrival.
The two other suspects, Uyami and Benedict Julaton, are now detained at the Bacnotan police station while the two policemen involved in the incident have been disarmed and will be subjected for investigation.
Police said the motive of the incident might be an old grudge between the policeman and the Julatons. Jun Elias-northboundasia.com